What Pegman Saw : Midday on the highway

By midday we’d reached the highway.

The rain that had soaked us through in the night had stopped by then, but still the road was slick with runoff, every passing truck throwing up a mist browned with mud and grease until our clothes were heavy once again.

After an hour of waiting for someone to pull over, the children were restless, tired of an ‘adventure’ that never ceased, of rest that never came.

‘There are too many of us,’ muttered Rudo, kicking at an empty soda can. ‘No one will stop for eight.’ His voice lowered further as he cast me a dark look, but the words arrived sharp and bright as lightning in my ear. ‘No one will take that child.’

Danai wriggled in her sling, sticky warm on my back, milky breath against my ear.

My child would never be part of this world.

*********************

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View. This week, we visit Harare, Zimbabwe. See here to join in and to read and comment.

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25 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw : Midday on the highway

  1. Hey, you’ve done it again. Left me wanting to know more. So what’s wrong with the child? Has it two heads?
    But despite the frustration, everything of the story smacks of veracity. 🙂

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    1. Ha! Not two heads, no. I was thinking it was mixed race or had an obvious deformity in a society where such things are associated with bad luck as they have been in our own country in the past. Either way, I think it’s going to be a long trek for Danai. Thanks Crispina

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you! I’m so glad you think so. Fluidity is something I’ve worked hard at, having read so many stories that make you halt and judder. Made me smile 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautifully written and leaving us wondering just what is “wrong” with that poor child and what hell does she have ahead of her, should someone be kind enough to finally stop…

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    1. Thank you Rochelle. I love that you felt that grease! As for Danai, I think she has a physical issue that marks her as different, perhaps bad luck to be around. A difficult life lays ahead I think. Thank you for reading

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  3. I really like the immediacy you create around the rain soaked family, feels so dismal for them. Your phrase ‘the words arrived sharp and bright as lightning in my ear, made me shiver for the poor child. Skilfully written Lynne. Happy New Year to you.

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  4. I can see how an “adventure” like that would pale very quickly, especially if the children are young. I was thinking (per your comment above) that the baby in the sling was another race, too. Still, the number alone is probably a bigger impediment to being picked up by a stranger. Sounds like it’s time for a new plan, if they’re going to get wherever it is that they hope to go.

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    1. It’s a good point, a mix of races would be enough to put people off picking them up in certain cultures, but definitely too many of them. Risky and stressful hitchhiking, you’re right. A new plan is needed. Thanks for reading Joy

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Poor Danai! I feel for her. Nice job of leaving us wanting more information. I also noticed some wonderful descriptions, such as “every passing truck throwing up a mist browned with mud and grease.” Great!

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    1. Thanks Kelvin. I think you’re right on every count there – an exodus of inconsequential people, invisible to passersby but important in their way as we all are. Thank you for your thoughtful comment

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, I could feel that grease-soaked water on my skin and smell that oily smell. Well done. Your story left me feeling rather sad ~ for the life ahead for the family and little Danai! Well done.

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